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Peace in the Coalfield.

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.1 Mass Meeting of Aberdare…

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Mass Meeting of Aberdare Colliers 1 STRONG DEJTUNCIATION OF THE LEADERS. < NEW AGREEMENT TO BE SIGNED. i On Monday evening a mass meeting of the miners in the Aberdare Valley was held at the Market Hall, Aberdare, to consider the position of Mr. C. B. Stahton, the miners' agent, who ? declined to sign the new Conciliation Board agreement without first obtaining the sanction 1 of the men to such a course. The chair was occupied by Mr. P. Davies, the chairman of the district, and he was supported by councillor Illtyd Hopkins (secretary) and the whole of the executive committee. There was a large attendance of colliers from all parts of the District. Mr. P. Davies, without any intro. ductory remarks, called upon Mr. Stanton to address the meeting. SECTIONAL STRIKE WOULD BE USELESS. Mr. Stanton, who was accorded an enthu- siastic reception, said the meeting had been called because he promised a previous mass meeting of the men that he would not sign the agreement without first consulting the men (hear, hear). They had all doubtless read that all the other miners' leaders had signed the agreement, so it was for that meeting to decide whether he was to do so. Although he could not tell them that the agreement was any better than it was when he last addressed them, it was for them to consider their position. If he did not sign the agreement he would not be able to sit on the Conciliation Board, and he did not think they would care to send any one else from that district to do so. (Cries of No.") Then there was the question whether they should sign /the agreement themselves, and, following that, whether he should. He was opposed to the agreement, and was in favour of a national stoppage, tut circumstances over which he, at least, had no control, prevented the realisation of that idea, and the new agree- men, had been accepted by the men. He was sure, however, that thousands had voted in favour of accepting the agreement who did no believe in it, but because they realised that there was no chance to get any support, finan- cially or otherwise, from other parts of the United Kingdom. Seeing that the agreement was acceptable to his colleagues, it was no usa for the Aberdare District to stand out alone. Indeed, he agreed with his colleagues that a sectional strike was useless, even for the whole of South Wales. The men of Aberdare had shown splendid loyalty, and he now aeked them to thow that they understood disciyiiqp ae j' well by signing themselves and allowing him to sign as well (hear, hear). He knew that many of them would be very discontented with the result, and he had already heard threats from many tliat^they would no Wger'pay to the Federation. He had been that as the result thousands in the Aberdare Valley would refuse to pay. If they wanted to play into the hands of employers let them make that known (applause). If they wanted to play into the of those who in the past had refused to pa.y except under great pressure, that was the ticket to play. He did not believe that, how- ever, of the Aberdare men (loud applause). They wanted to be united in that district, and to have funds in hand to fight for their rights. It would, indeed, be a nice thing for Ùe em- ployers to discover the one district which had set the pace in t),'1 coalfield was becoming demoralised. Let them be united, for by united action alone could they hope to succeed. He was sorry to learn that at several lodges, on Saturday last, the contributions received were only a quarter of the usual amount. He hoped that waJ dono merely as a protest against the terms of the new agreement, and that the men would pay up. Then, at future conferences, they would find out that they were going to get the sympathy of many of the men in every district. A TRUMPET BLOWER. Although some of the leaders had let them down, he co was satisfied that there was a large body of the men in sympathy with them. Let them pay their contributions and he was sure they would do better. He was out for what was fair to the men and long overdue (hear, hear). He. had been called a trumpet blower. If he had sounded a clarion cry that had reached the hearts of the men of South Wales he was satisfied (loud applause). He knew that he sacrificed popularity by his action the popular men were those who preached peace—yea, peace at any price. If he were a man of peace every tradesman would praise him, but now he was called an agitator and an irresponsible person who lived on the backs of the men (shame). They knew he was saying the truth. It was hard enough to be a miners' leader, a.nd he had only the men to rely on. Would they turn their backs on him. (Cries of No.") If he spoke out plainly he was called abusive, but the workmen in the South Wales coalfield looked out for a straight lead (loud applause). The grocer, the publican and the commercial travel. lers were all very anxious that the men should go back to work. He often wondered why the commercial traveller, who was paid by his employer for doing his best for him, did not sometimes think that Stanton ought to do the same for those who paid him (hear, hear). As they served their employers so did he, only that he did not receive their salary (laughter). If Stanton was seen coming out of an hotel smoking a cigar, there was a hue and cry by these men, who received £6 a week for expenses, in addition to £5 or £6 salary, and spent all their spare time in hotels (hear, hear). Oh,^ they cried, that fellow ought to be shot. He still remembered the time he was himself a. collier, and the difficulties a eollier had to contend with. He preferred that to the people being able to say, Stanton is now standing for East Glamorgan, and now stands for peace." He knew his advocacy of the men's cause had lost him .thousands of votes. If he never became a member of Parliament he would act as a miners' leader, and say what he believed to be the truth. The employers thought that they had now secured a five years' peace. Perhaps they had. (Cries of No.") If they were to have peace, and he hoped they would, the owners would have to part with more pieces than they had done (laughter). He was going to send forward a notice of of motion to the Federation re abnormal places, and Mr. Enoch Edwards, the president of the Federation, had promised it should be considered. The following was the notice :—" That the miners of Scotland, England and Wales meet the respective owners and demand a fair Jiving wage to be paid to all colliers working in abnor- mal places, failing to get which, that a national conference be called, with a view of Calling a national stoppage to enforce our just demands." (Loud applause). They would get opposition to that proposal, but he was going to persevere with it, and, if necessary, to send missionaries to those districts where the miners' leaders were weak. GUERILLA WARFARE. He heard that the hauliers were threatening to secede. He would strongly advise them to do nothing of the, kind. They had done a great deal for the hauliers, although he was prepared to admit that they bad not got all they would like to get for them. They had- secured them 4d. a day, in spite of the agree, ment, and some other concessions as well. Then, in regard to-those who were now under- paid at the csllieriee—labourere receiving 2s. 8d. and 2s. lOd. a day—he could not promise these men an advance under the agreement, but he did promise them that he would do his utmost to force-and coerce the employers to grant higher wages where practicable (loud applause). He would continue, too, to help the men in abnormal places. If they failed to get fair play there was such a thing as guerilla warfare still possible, at least, in that coalfield (loud applause). So long as the conduct of the employers was fair under the agreement, so long would there be a prospect of peace; but if the employers tried to use the whip they would find out that the men could snarl and bite as well (cheers). It was only for one district to start that kind of thing, and it would easily extend (hear, hear). Aberdare was not the worst paid district in the South Wales coalfield, and he did not see any use in their remaining out, without any prospect of strike pay. Let them remain for the present in the Federation, and prime their delegates to set the mark a bit higher (loud applause). If they could not get the Federation to move, then they would have to consider how to do so. The next time they had such a business on he would have to issue a manifesto in Welsh and English, to the wives, to try and convice them that they were fighting their battle and the battle of the children (hear, hear). He was fighting for fair remuneration for the husbands. It was better to suffer for a time than for all time. It was better to see the children starving when the father was idle than to see them starving when the father was at work. TALK OF SECESSION. At the close of Mr. Stanton's speech a collier, while asking a question, advocated secession from the M.F.G.B. Mr. Stanton, in reply, said he was not going to advocate secession at the moment, but he was quite prepared to tell them that if the Federation was not prepared to go quick enough he for one was prepared to join the quicker-going districts and to affiliate with them. Before, however, talking of that, he granted to give their friends at Cardiff and the M.F.G.B. another chance. They could not tiang him or Barker, and some of the others, and they were going still to peg at It, but he could tell them one thing, if there was tp be a split, Aberdare alone was not coming out. (Loud nd long-continued applause.) One of the men said that it was useless for the Aberdare district to go to the deep sea (laughter). He therefore moved that it was better for them to accept the terms like all the other districts. No doubt they would be told in the Press that their agent had climbed down or had learnt wisdom (laughter). He was one of those who helped to lessen the profits of the capitalists, Mid thus increase the earnings of the men. He criticised Mr. Walter Lewis's suggestion to boycott' abnormal places. It would lead bo victimisation, and the men beil1& thrown out of work. What they wanted was more of the spirit of agitation for the rights of the people. Let their agent, like De Wet, continue fighting, and, if necessary, run away to fight again. Mr. John Prowle seconded the resolution. He said they had fought a good fight, and although they had not won they were, he believed, on the way to victory. He was in favour of Mr. Stanton, as their agent, signing the agreement, so that he could attend on their behalf at the Conciliation Board. He well remembered the time when their late agent, Alderman David Morgan, refused to sign, and they had to elect another one to sit on the committee, and it proved very inconvenient. Some people might say, after Mr. Stanton had signed the agreement, that he had been subdued. That was not so. It was Mr. Stanton who had opened the eyes of the people and the leaders to the abnormal places question, and it was ho who had brought forward the question of the payment for small coal; but, unfortunately, their leaders had given that up without a fight. Mr. Brace used to tell them, years ago in his younger days, when he had a bit of fight in him, that if they joined the M.F.G.B. they would get great things. The men, however, were no better for having done so, aud after twelve experience, he [Mr. Prowle) saw no hopes of Rule 20 being put n force, with the clique that was now ruling. The South Wales leaders went to London pretending to demand that, but some of them, with' soft heads and absolutely boneless, had really given up everything in Cardiff. Some of the leaders were getting too respectable'; that was the truth about it. He then said that colliers working in abnormal places ought to come to the checkfceigher and others, and tell them how they were treated. Had they noticed that during the present uegotiaM.jnH there had bn no tables in the newspapers showing the earnings of colLers s That told 0 tale. 1 1'he iaot was that they h&d not only to fight

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MRS. JONES AT THE RINK, j

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....-.--'-MERTHYR POLICE COURT.

Chief Inspector of Mines -..

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Peace in the Coalfield.

.1 Mass Meeting of Aberdare…